I agree Larry, I really liked Powell. He was the first FCC chairman in quite awhile that didn't dislike or distrust the cable companies and understood the importance of cable in completing the DTV transition.
It all depends on what one values in an FCC chairman--a true visionary, or simply someone who is willing to fight for the public interest in a few choice battles rather than roll over automatically. For the most part, what we get is neither one nor the other.
In my mind, the most visionary FCC chairman I covered in my reporting career was Reed Hundt. He oversaw the introduction of spectrum auctions. Moreover, by pitting TV broadcast industry against the PC industry, he took an initiative to stimulate competitions in the then emerging DTV market.
I agree, Larry. I thought that Michael Powell was one of the very best FCC chairmen in a long time. He made some key decisions that got the digital TV transition done, as opposed to the endless waffling, not to mention catering to the special interests, that had been stalling the transition for years. And could have remained stalled for many more years.
That aside, though, broadcast DTV, whether broadcast over the air or broadcast over cable systems (i.e. as MPEG-2 transport streams, over a broadcast medium), came a little bit late in the game. We're now at a point where the Internet is widespread and is becoming fast enough, that it will probably become the preferred TV transport medium. Already is, for tablets and smartphones, of course, but there's little doubt in my mind that any other TV device can also use the Internet to obtain TV content. So it looks like the glory days of broadcast DTV may already be behind us? I wouldn't be surprised.
So FCC emphasis now needs to be on net neutrality, in addition to spectrum policy.
I was really impressed with Powell as FCC chairman and very disappointed with the results of his tenure, particularly when he went to the dark side by heading up the cable TV lobbying group. Maybe I am just being naive, but it would be nice to see an FCC that would really serve the public interest instead of just propping up the current monopolies.
The evolution of spectrum policy in the last couple decades has been monumental, and I look forward to seeing how this new chairman approaches the public vs. private spectrum balancing act, beginning with the incentive auctions next year.
This year's Gary Shapiro's chat with FCC chairman drew a HUGE crowd at CES. It's largely because we now have a new chief at the agency.
As many people's business (responsible for developing mobile, telecom, any other "connected devices) will be affected by FCC's new direction, reading the back and forth between Wheeler and Shapiro is fascinating, politically speaking.
American pie I guess id defined as only intervening where it promotes innovation and growth in some way...it seems as though there is general agreement on this topic between governmetn regulation and those they are regulating.